Category Archives: Housekeeping

Why Market Solutions To Policy Problems Usually Don’t Work

Interesting piece from Governing magazine, which quotes the University of Michigan’s Barry Rabe, who looked at two market-based solutions to policy issues: the Affordable Care Act and cap-and-trade.

These, of course, were both solidly Republican ideas which Democrats signed on to. Once they did, however, these market-based solutions suddenly caught liberal cooties, and Republicans ran away from them screaming “socialism!” at the top of their lungs.

Rabe notes that by 2008, 23 states had signed on to cap-and-trade:

It seemed a perfect solution. New markets developed, and regional consortia planned to reduce greenhouse gases by 10 percent or more within a few years.

But that perfect solution didn’t last long. Rabe found that, within five years, more than half the states had walked away from their cap-and-trade commitment. The market-based alternative to command-and-control regulations evaporated as a state-based policy tool.

What happened between 2008 and 2013? Well, there was an economic meltdown. There was also a Republican meltdown. Any policy progress while a Democrat was in the White House ground to a halt. The Tea Party took over, state legislatures turned Red. Hyper-partisanship became the rule of the day.

Then there’s the Affordable Care Act, which was designed to dodge complaints of “big government” and encourage the states to create exchanges that would provide insurance policies to their uninsured.

State implementation proved wildly uneven. Federal policymakers found themselves without the results they sought. And everyone came away more convinced than ever that government couldn’t solve problems like this, even though many of the problems were rooted in private market failures.

By the end of 2015, 38 states had declined to set up health-care exchanges, leaving the federal government to step in and create them. Three states — Hawaii, Nevada and Oregon — tried the exchange approach and backed out when enrollment was lower and costs were higher than expected. Some states, like Maryland and Washington, enthusiastically embraced the exchanges but fumbled the launch. Pressed by angry Republicans, who criticized the states’ lack of accountability for federal funds, the Obama administration took back $200 million in grants it had made to states that had struggled to launch their exchanges.

Note: this wasn’t a failure of the policy. It was a failure of politics. Republicans love to talk about the need to “run government like a business,” but when a Democrat does it, they call it Socialism, Fascism, Big Government, etc. Hyper-partisanship has basically ruined our country’s ability to solve big problems, in my opinion. We’re seeing the predictable result of 30 years of “government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem” messaging.

The author notes:

The fundamental flaw lies in two assumptions: that markets always work better than governments and that markets will run themselves if government gets out of the way. The first assumption is the stuff of fierce ideological debate, but the second is really a settled question. Markets just don’t run themselves in delivering public goods, because most of the time they are being asked to do things they aren’t used to doing. And because policymakers tend to assume that the markets will take care of themselves, they often don’t build governmental capacity to steer the process. The reformers then end up running after problems as they develop down the line.

Indeed. Government exists for a reason. Government exists to do the things that the private sector can’t or won’t do.

I’m not going to agree that market-based solutions NEVER work. They can work — when accompanied by a strong government regulatory presence. What never works is all one or the other. You need both.

Truly no ideology has more consistently failed than the Libertarian one, or even worse, the Libertarian-lite “run government like a business,” “government needs to get out of the way,” “release the free hand of the market” one, which dominates today’s Republican Party. I really don’t understand why anyone who believes government is the problem would want to be in government. And I don’t understand why anyone votes for someone who believes government is the problem. It’s like going to a butcher shop run by PETA. You’re just asking for failure.

One thing Democrats have consistently failed at is defending their own positions. A Republican yells “BIG GOVERNMENT” and we wet our pants. Democrats need to learn how to defend their principles, instead of trying massage their positions into something Republicans will find palatable. As the past eight years show, Republicans will never find anything a Democrat does palatable. They will even turn on their own market-based policy solutions if a Democrat is the one selling it.

These are lessons we’ve learned during the Obama years. We’ve also seen markets fail the economy and the American people time and time again. We’ve seen bad actors like Turing Pharmaceuticals and Theranos, hell even Enron is still synonymous with “crooks.” The financial crisis of 2007-2008 ain’t exactly ancient history, not with movies like “The Big Short” reminding everyone about how the market failed the global economy.

We’ve seen deregulation in Texas end in an entire town exploding. And hello, Flint, Michigan, where Republican Gov. Snyder tried to “save money” because “government should be run like a business.” Meanwhile, an actual business — General Motors — refused to use Flint River water at its engine plant because chloride levels were too high.

As this article notes, “government requires governing.” Republicans don’t seem to know how to do it. Democrats don’t seem to know how to be advocates for it. And I believe we will never have effective policies until we fix our politics.

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Filed under free hand of the market, Housekeeping

Tennessee Gun Report

Our first gun report of the new year and Memphis, you are over-represented. What is going on down there?

• January 5, 2016:

In Memphis, a 21-year-old man accidentally fired his gun in his apartment. The bullet passed through the floor to the apartment downstairs, where it hit (and killed) a 13-year-old, and grazed the 3-month-old baby she was holding. The shooter was then shot and killed by someone who went upstairs to investigate.

So much gunfail. Welcome to the NRA’s America.

• January 4, 2016:

A gun report update: two felony indictments have been filed against the Goodlettsville dad whose 5-year-old was accidentally shot by an older brother using dad’s gun back in November.

This was an especially egregious case of negligence. From the original report:

Prior to the shooting, the dad had been watching television with the two children and was playing with the family’s cat with a laser mounted onto a gun.

Police said the man later went into the kitchen and forgot to put the firearm out of the children’s reach.

The older child picked up the gun in an effort to get the cat to chase the laser. Police said the child was unfamiliar with how the laser worked and instead pulled the gun’s trigger, firing one shot.

Hope they lock him up.

• January 3, 2016:

A Memphis teenager is in critical condition after accidentally shooting himself.

• December 28, 2015:

New bill would prohibit civilians from having armed drones but leaves the door open to law enforcement.

Oh hell no.

• December 25, 2015:

Christmas night in Memphis:

A man is in critical condition after accidentally shooting himself in the leg and crashing his car, police say.

According to Memphis police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph, officers found two vehicles involved in a crash at Third and Madison Avenue shortly before 9 on Christmas night. The 31-year-old driver of the first vehicle, a Chevrolet Camaro, was pinned by the steering wheel and had to be freed by firefighers.

Once the man was pulled from the car, officers found him to be shot in the leg. The man told police that he accidentally shot himself and was going to the hospital when he crashed his car, police say.

The driver of the second car, an Acura, said he was sitting at the light at Third and Madison when the first car ran the red light and lost control at the intersection. The car struck a pole and then the Acura, police say.

I feel so much safer now, you guys.

• December 23, 2015:

Tennesseans can no longer conceal-carry in Virginia.

• December 19, 2015:

In Chattanooga, a leaf-blowing incident “escalated”:

Orville Hughes, 53, said Marsh apparently took offense when he was blowing leaves near his property.

He said they argued, then Marsh came down from the porch and onto the sidewalk holding a knife.

Hughes said he retreated to his residence and came back out with a gun and holster.

He said he looked up on the porch before leaving his yard and saw Marsh sitting on the porch holding a shotgun. He then retreated and called police.

Arms races always work out so well.

• December 18, 2015:

In case you missed it, we had a mass shooting in Knoxville before Christmas. Very tragic story, which I’m not sure made the national headlines:

Police: Football player killed shielding girls from gunfire

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Police say a high school football player was shot to death while shielding three girls from the gunfire.

Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch says the death of 15-year-old Zaevion William Dobson was part of a series of shootings that began Thursday night.

The first incident involved 46-year-old Lisa Perry being shot in her apartment. She is expected to survive.

Rausch said Perry’s 23-year-old son, Brandon Perry, and several other men then drove to the neighborhood where Dobson lived and “randomly fired multiple times.”

The girls shielded by Dobson were not hurt.

Rausch said Brandon Perry was found to have been shot after he crashed a car into another apartment. He died from his injuries on Friday morning.

These vendetta shootings, I just don’t get it. What the hell is wrong with people?

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Housekeeping, Tennessee

Tennessee Gun Report

Your semi-regular round up of gun crazy. Enjoy.

• December 12, 2015:

An 11-year-old Estill Springs girl was shot in the back in the garage of a home. She died.

• December 11, 2015:

From Dyersburg, and yes, this is perfectly normal in Tennessee:

Employees told officers that a man had abandoned a silver Jeep at the gas pumps and left walking north on Lake Road with two dogs, and never returned.

Moments later the man and the two dogs were found on I-155 near the Lake Road interchange with a handgun in one hand and an ax in the other.

The subject, later identified as Mark Grooms, 26, of Union City, was ordered at gunpoint to drop the weapons.

He complied and was taken into custody.

It was found upon a search that Grooms was armed with a handgun and had a hatchet, a shotgun and rifle in a duffel bag, along with a large quantity of ammunition for all the weapons that were found to be loaded at the time of arrest.

Grooms was also in possession of two different types of illegal drugs and a large amount of cash.

At the time of arrest officers say Grooms appeared to be under the influence of some type of drug and was speaking incoherently about going to a church and “rallying with his people about getting someone.”

So, what happened to the dogs?

• December 10, 2015:

1- A Jackson man accidentally shot himself in the hand and lied to the police about it, telling them he was shot by an unknown assailant.

2- A Kingston gun shop is selling “Christian carry” pins:

KINGSTON, Tenn. (WVLT) — “There ought to be a way for Christians to kind of be able to give a nod to each other that they’re Christian and carry and that they’re not going to kneel down and allow someone to kill them,” said Brant Williams, Owner of Frontier Firearms.

I dunno, a secret handshake, maybe?

“I wear these pins as you notice saying I’m Christian and I carry weapons,” said Bobby Dodd who shoots at the range five days a week.

“I’m a Christian and I carry,” said Rob Snider who works at the shop and also wears the pins. “I’m proud of that fact.”

Okie dokie.

• A Cleveland, TN man killed his girlfriend, her five-year-old son, and the family dog. But that gun sure kept everyone safe, amiright, people?

• December 8, 2015:

Cabo was the mascot of a Nashville-area dog rescue. Until someone shot him at close range in the woods behind his house, that is. The community is heartbroken.

• December 4, 2015:

A dispatch from our armed/polite society out of Athens, Tennessee:

An argument among family members led to gunfire and an arrest recently.

At around 9 p.m. Tuesday, Athens Police Department Officer Jackie Holmes responded to a residence on Summit Street in reference to a father pointing a shotgun at his daughter.

[…]

After officers had him handcuffed, the man – identified as Michael R. Macigewski, 69, of Athens – reportedly explained that he had been arguing with his wife about someone “stealing one of his weapons.” He then allegedly said that he was threatened by his daughter, so he got his .22 caliber rifle from outside, brought it into the residence and “fired the weapon once into the floor of the residence.”

Holmes noted that she could smell a “slight” odor of alcohol on the man.

The officers then headed to the residence on Summit Street where they met with Macigewski’s wife and stepdaughter and heard their side of the story. They reportedly said that the husband and wife had been arguing and when Macigewski began yelling at his wife, the daughter stepped in between them. He then allegedly began shoving both of them around when his wife grabbed a knife and threatened him with it.

Macigewski then left the residence, came back in with his rifle and “shot a round into the floor, barely missing (the daughter’s) foot.”

Family values, y’all.

• November 30, 2015:

1- A Nashville 3-year-old accidentally shot himself in the arm with a loaded gun he found lying around in his parents’ bedroom. Super smart, you guys.

2- What is it about guns and Walmart? A CCW holder with a loaded handgun impersonated a Walmart manager in Murfreesboro, even ordering employees around. WTF?

“Not only was he presenting himself as a manager to other customers, but also giving orders to other employees before another manager asked him who are you and what are you doing here,” said Sgt. Evans.

The manager asked Jones to leave, but said he refused; So police were called and started asking questions.

They discovered that Jones had a loaded handgun with him. Jones never pulled the weapon and had a legal carry permit.

As for what witnesses said appeared to be his Walmart outfit? It wasn’t clear where Jones got it, but the style of clothing is legally available.

The story says Jones bonded out but police are still concerned about him. So glad he’s legally allowed to carry a loaded firearm everywhere. /sarcasm

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Housekeeping, Tennessee

Yes There Is Something We Can Do About Mass Shootings

I’ve heard many people lament that mass shootings where a stranger opens fire on a public place seem to be the hardest ones to prevent. Someone “goes postal” and no one saw it coming. He (or she) was a good guy with a gun, until he wasn’t. Nothing you can do about that! Just the price we have to pay for freedom, right?

Well, no. Let’s drill down a bit: Adam Lanza was mentally ill as fuck, yet mom hoarded guns and he had access to them. Not too bright, Nancy Lanza! One wonders if mom didn’t have a dozen guns in her basement, would Lanza have acted out his twisted anger in this way?

Christopher Harper-Mercer had 14 guns, all legally obtained through a licensed dealer. His mother was another Nancy Lanza-type, a “gun enthusiast” who hoarded guns and ammo in the apartment.

What, really, does anyone need 14 guns for? Shouldn’t that kind of hoarding be a red flag to anyone with a lick of common sense?

And then we have the San Bernardino shooters, in what is increasingly looking like an ideologically-motivated terror attack. This is chilling:

In a press conference, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan detailed the stockpile. The couple had 1,400 .223-caliber rounds and 200 9-mm rounds of ammunition either on their person or in the SUV in which they were both eventually shot by SBPD officers. Investigators also found 2,000 9mm rounds and 2,500 .223-caliber rounds at their home in a later raid, Burguan said.

In total, the San Bernardino shooters had more than 6,000 ammunition rounds at their disposal, according to Vocativ’s calculations. And while it’s a huge amount of ammunition, capable of causing death on a massive scale, the total price-tag for the ammunition would be less than $2,000 at average prices.

[…]

The shooters reportedly used two assault rifles and two handguns in the attack on Wednesday, killing 14 people and injuring 21. The four weapons were all legally obtained, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Thursday. The assault rifles were a .223-caliber DPMS Model A15 and a Smith & Wesson M&P15. One of the handguns was manufactured by Llama, and the other by Smith & Wesson, authorities said, The New York Daily News reported. The DPMS rifle is mentioned on a list of firearms prohibited in California in 2000. DPMS advertised the gun as part of its Black Friday sale on November 28. The company has not tweeted since the shootings, and their website’s stores is currently “unavailable due to site maintenance.”

Chicken shits.

Stockpiling weapons and ammo should not be allowed, period. There is no argument for this, except the right-wing’s “Red Dawn” fantasies about taking on a tyrannical government. This is ridiculous, of course. The U.S. military is the world’s largest; the Pentagon’s budget is over $850 billion. But yes, do tell me about how the dozen AR-15s you have in the basement are going to take on the world’s most powerful military, complete with drones and nukes. I’m all ears.

Let’s be clear: the only war being waged by gun hoarders is against innocent civilians. Or, to put it another way:

TOLES

Let’s stop this stockpiling. Put a limit on it, two guns per customer or something, and then if you want more than that, you must get a collector’s license, for which you must be subjected to additional scrutiny. And then, let’s tax the fuck out of ammo and put that money toward gun violence research. So, that’s two things we can do.

So, what about other shootings? This New York Times piece tells us that the guns used in 15 recent mass shootings were all obtained legally. But were they all “good guys” who “just snapped”? No. In every case one can look back and, in hindsight, see how these individuals should not have been allowed to buy weapons. In fact, according to the New York Times piece, in eight of the 15 cases,

the gunmen had criminal histories or documented mental health problems that did not prevent them from obtaining their weapons.

So let’s look at a few of them. Dylann Roof was a white supremacist with two prior arrests. He shouldn’t have been allowed to buy a gun but did because of a breakdown in the NCIS system. But even if human error was to blame for the background check failing, a simple change to federal law still could have prevented the Charleston church shooting:

Under the law, the FBI has three business days to deny or approve a purchase. If a decision is not made in that time frame, the law permits the dealer to complete the sale.

Well, that’s a law we can change! If the FBI needs more than three days to clear you for purchase, you have to wait. Go cry like a baby about that. Failure to do that simple thing killed innocent people at their Bible study, so stick a cork in it.

Robert Dear was an anti-abortion, fundamentalist Christian with a history of domestic abuse and rape. The rape was never prosecuted because the only other witness refused to testify, which itself is a miscarriage of justice — police and prosecutors are pretty awful at handling rape cases in general. The victim’s husband said,

“We had to let go and let God take care of it.”

That certainly worked out well.

I still haven’t heard anything about the weapon Dear used or how it was obtained. Until we know that, it’s hard to say what could have been done to prevent the Planned Parenthood shooting, other than something like California’s new mental health law, which has yet to go into effect.

John R. Houser, who killed two and wounded nine at a Lafayette movie theater, bought his gun, legally, in Alabama. He was denied a CCW permit because of past issues with domestic violence and arson. He was also violent and mentally ill, and had been hospitalized for psychiatric reasons. Seems like all of those should have been sufficient reasons to deny him a handgun purchase. Too violent to concealed-carry? Then maybe you’re too violent to have a gun at all. So that’s something we can change.

Fifteen-year-old Jaylen Ray Fryberg used his dad’s gun to shoot up his high school cafeteria. But dad should never have had a gun in the first place: there was a permanent domestic violence order of protection against him. Yet the gun was obtained from a gun shop, not the black market, after Fryberg lied on the federal form. The permanent order of protection had not been entered into the system because it was issued by a tribal court, not a state court. From the link:

Had the protection order been filed in a state court instead of the tribal court, it would have been entered into a criminal records database and would have surfaced during a background check when Raymond Fryberg purchased the gun. But the order was never entered into any state or federal criminal databases because of a flawed reporting system between tribes and outside authorities.

So, that’s something we can fix. Right?

So, that’s just a few examples of things we can do, above and beyond what’s already been discussed — universal background checks, etc. Mass shootings don’t have to be an everyday part of American life. They just don’t.

Of course, our cowardly Republicans in Congress won’t do any of these things, because they’re wholly-owned by the NRA. They made that clear yesterday when they crushed two very logical, not exactly tyrannical gun control measures in the Senate.

So none of this will happen until Republicans are made a minority in Congress. That’s the bottom line.

How do we do this? Beyond the usual GOTV for gun control candidates, etc? Stay tuned …

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Housekeeping

Here We Go Again

Another mass shooting, this time in San Bernardino. Everybody’s thoughts and prayers were so effective after the last mass shooting, that we decided to do it all again! /sarcasm

Meanwhile, on Twitter, we have this, just hours after news of the event started coming in:

 

STAGED

I’m just curious how that’s supposed to work? Obama and George Soros stage a mass shooting, come and take everyone’s guns away, and then what? What happens next? You’re sent to work in the salt mines? (We need more salt?) I mean, what’s the end game here?

Wouldn’t it just be easier for them to do whatever the fuck it is they want to do and then send one of those drones our Pentagon owns down to bomb the crap out of whomever objects? Wouldn’t that be easier than “staging” a mass shooting and then trying to collect hundreds of millions of guns from people in every nook and cranny of Murrica?

I mean, I’m just trying to apply some common sense here, people. I know, futile exercise …

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Filed under Current Events, gun control, gun violence, Guns, Housekeeping, Social Media, twitter

#GunSENSE Victory In Nashville

It’s not often that the NRA and its bullies don’t get their way but today, the the Board of Fair Commissioners voted to no longer hold gun shows at the state fairgrounds in Nashville.

That’s right, and yes, this is the city which just hosted the NRA at its publicly-owned convention center. Yee haw! From The Tennessean link above:

Citing three cases that linked guns purchased at the fairgrounds to criminals, the Metro Board of Fair Commissioners voted 3-0, with one member abstaining, to terminate future gun shows at the fairgrounds after fulfilling any existing contracts with show operators.

The plan is to later adopt new safety measures and other rules for any future gun shows before deciding whether to allow the events to continue at the fairgrounds.

The board’s action, which could trigger an appeal from at least one gun show operator, means Bill Goodman’s Gun and Knife Shows, which has rented space in the fairgrounds since the 1970s, will still hold an already scheduled set of gun shows at the fairgrounds this Saturday and Sunday. Future events more than 30 days out by Goodman and RK, a separate gun show producer that contracts with the fair board, will no longer take place.

[…]

The most significant testimony came from Assistant Davidson County District Attorney Jenny Charles, who detailed three criminal cases in Nashville that she said involved people who purchased firearms at gun shows at the fairgrounds.

Go to the link for details on the three stories she cited.

Both Bill Goodman and R.K. Shows have had problems, not just in Nashville but in Tennessee and, indeed, around the country. Goodman most notably was outted by Michael Bloomberg’s group in 2009 for allowing illegal gun sales at several of his shows across the country, including right here in Nashville. Goodman claims that he took action to stop the illegal sales, and now requires private sellers to go through a dealer so background checks can be done on every sale. But check out this Ohio story from 2013:

Within 20 minutes of paying $8 to enter Bill Goodman’s Gun and Knife show at the Vandalia Aiport Expo Center earlier this month, I was offered an SKS semi-automatic rifle with a 30-round magazine for $450, no background check required.

The seller, who didn’t give his name, said he had the gun for years but was selling it because the price of semi-automatic rifles had ballooned.

Another man, who gave his name as John, strolled the aisles of the gun show with a semi-automatic Ruger Mini-14 slung over his shoulder. Taped to the end of the barrel was a piece of paper listing four guns he had for sale.

They included an AR-15, commonly called an “assault weapon” or “military style” gun because it looks similar to weapons used by SWAT teams or military. This is the same type of gun used by shooter Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

John said the AR-15 was available for $1,500, “straight out of the box.” I asked to see the gun and was escorted to John’s car in the parking lot and shown the gun in the trunk. John offered to throw in a second 30-round magazine with a cash purchase.

When asked if any paperwork was required, John said no. He said I only needed to be an Ohio resident and be allowed to buy a weapon. I told John that I wasn’t a felon.

Well, forgive me for not being comforted by the notion of “new safety measures and other rules.” Seems to me that if you get a bunch of gun guys together, sooner or later someone is going to buy or sell something under the table, out in the parking lot, you name it.

RK Shows has been even worse. There was the Chattanooga gun show purchase that ended up killing a police sergeant, the accidental shooting in the parking lot of the Gray, TN gun show, and the vendor at the show in Knoxville who accidentally shot himself in the hand. And then there’s RK’s squirrelly banking practices, which caught the attention of the Feds in Iowa.

So, yeah. I’m not sure the taxpayers should be partners in crime with these folks.

The gun loons will probably call for the fainting couches, but truth be told, there’s a gun show just about every weekend in these parts. I don’t think the gun people will be too inconvenienced. But at least the county doesn’t have to be part of this dirty business.

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Everyone Can Shut Up About Syrian Refugees Now

Tennessee’s Attorney General has ruled that the state has no say over refugees resettled in the state:

In the opinion released Monday, Slatery notes that through the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, federal law pre-empts any rules the state seems to put into place on refugees.

But Slatery said that nothing prevents the state from communicating its preferences and concerns about the refugee resettlement program to the federal government.

We all predicted this, and one would hope that recent acts of terror on the homeland perpetuated by our own right-wing extremists might put this “OMG THEY’RE MUSLIM” BS to rest once and for all. Right-wing extremism is the greater threat to Americans, but we can’t talk about that, can we? It’s not polite! Here in Tennessee, our politicians find it more expedient to deflect and demonize marginalized communities than take responsibility for the violence their own despicable rhetoric creates. I mean, I’m still waiting for Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey to tell women who are “serious about their healthcare” to get concealed-carry permits, right? But I kid, I kid.

So all that our Tennessee Legislature can do is tell the State Department that they’re a-skeered of those Middle Easterners, or, to put it more politely, they have “concerns.” You know what’s really sad? There’s a reason that so many refugees have traditionally been resettled in places like Nashville, Tennessee and across the South: it’s because of all the churches located here, and the support services that faith communities have traditionally provided, to help families resettle and assimilate into American life. I’ve mentioned this before, but many if not most of the groups facilitating refugee resettlement are Christian, and they work with local congregations! You know, Christians used to be known for helping people, not shooting up abortion clinics. Weird, huh?

Not everyone has taken leave of their senses. State Senator Jeff Yarbro — a Democrat, of course — wrote this column in our local newspaper, where he chastised his colleagues for their lack of common sense:

Rather than going through the 24-month refugee screening process, it’s far more likely that terrorists will enter the country on tourist, student or work visas. By virtue of having a passport, French and Belgian nationals can pretty easily board a plane and come to the United States.

We should make it harder for people with the intent to harm us to get into the country. But the rational response is to devote resources to more effectively screen those who can get here pretty easily.

Instead, the entire nation is focused like a laser on Syrian refugees — primarily widows and orphans — who are already subject to some of the most stringent security procedures we have. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Nov. 19 requiring national security agencies to focus greater attention on refugees, thus redirecting resources that should be trained on more serious and imminent threats.

It’s like building a moat around your backyard while leaving the front door open.

What’s worse is that closing the borders to refugees makes it harder for the United States to lead the fight against ISIS.

I know Yarbro is a newbie in our State Senate, but can we send him to Washington, please? Rep. Jim Cooper sent me a letter in response to my angry call after he voted for the SAFE Act; it appears Cooper is still sticking with his “this just reinforces existing law” position. If that’s what he thinks, then he doesn’t need to be in Congress anymore.

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The Eternal Victimization Of The Modern Conservative

We’re finally hearing from the 2016 Republican Presidential candidates about the mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs:

 

huck

 

Yes, Mike. You’re the real victim here. It’s especially tragic for pro-lifers, who have been spreading lies about “baby parts” and other monstrosities that Planned Parenthood supposedly perpetuated. Really a tragedy for you, not the patients and staff who were there for birth control and STD testing and other regular healthcare services.

Oh, you poor dears. How will you ever get over this?

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, abortion, conservatives, Current Events, Housekeeping, Mike Huckabee, Planned Parenthood

Your Modern Libertarian Hellhole

20151128_COLORADO_HP-slide-0H1U-jumbo-v2

 

Congratulations, Colorado Springs, Colorado! Two mass shootings in less than one month! That earns you some kind of 2nd Amendment Hero award for sure. With memories of the Halloween shooting spree still fresh in everyone’s mind, we have yet another armed white guy terrorizing the staff and women at a Planned Parenthood clinic near the UCCS campus — people who were no doubt there for PAP smears and STD tests, not abortions. Three people shot, nine injured, after a five-hour standoff. Slow clap, Colorado Springs.

Yes, wingnuts. DO tell me how I need to be afraid of Syrian refugees and Muslims. Looks to me like the biggest perpetrators of terrorism on American soil are disaffected white guys exercising their constitutional right to be armed to the teeth and terrorize everyone they disagree with.

Oh, I’m sorry. Is it too soon already? Forgive my impolite response. There’s just so damn many shootings, it’s like it’s always too soon!

After our last tragedy in this city, the mayor of Colorado Springs had this to say about the state’s liberal gun laws:

COLORADO SPRINGS — Days after a rifle-toting assailant stormed a Colorado Springs neighborhood, Mayor John Suthers said he sees no reason to restrict residents’ ability to openly carry firearms.

“What your open carry laws are don’t dictate what your violent crime rate is,” Suthers said.

His comments came as debate swirled about a state law allowing people to openly carry guns in public, and numerous publications scrutinized the Colorado Springs Police Department’s initial handling of a 911 call about the gunman on Halloween.

Hmm, really? I’m not so sure about that. Well, by all means, don’t look under that rock, Mayor! And one month later we have another armed nutball waltzing into a Planned Parenthood clinic. Planned Parenthood officials, at least, are no dummies:

Security concerns at the clinic were high enough that the clinic had a “security room” with a supply of bulletproof vests, ….

So, this is your modern Libertarian right-wing conservative Christian world. Where a women’s health clinic is forced to have a “security room” with bullet-proof vests. The Taliban would be proud!

So, do you think open carry activists will now be volunteering to protect Planned Parenthood clinics around the country? Ha ha, I kid, I kid. C’mon, that’s just for military recruiters in strip malls! Women’s health clinics? Fuhgeddabout it. YOYO, y’all.

Although I do love this guy:

There was a moment this afternoon when a man walked up to the scene with a handgun strapped to his waist and ammunition vest around his chest. He appeared to be asking police if he could help. Officers told him to leave immediately because appearing at the scene while wearing firearms and that equipment was a bad idea.

Gee, ya think?!

Already we have the “tin-foil hate” brigade calling this a “false flag,” or blaming it on liberals to smear the anti-choice fetus-fetish zealots, etc. (It’s Breitbart, go over there and look, I’m not leaving any links.)

It’s Colorado Springs, you know? Home of Focus On The Family, a whole bunch of mega-churches, military bases, a real Libertarian paradise. Who is surprised that a women’s health clinic would be attacked here? Not me.

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Filed under abortion, gun control, gun violence, Guns, Housekeeping, Planned Parenthood

Congratulations, Unidentified TN Man! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

Although it was our lead item in this week’s Tennessee Gun Report, as several readers have alerted me, the story of the tragedy in Goodlettsville has been updated. And the details of this case are so abso-fucking insane, so monumentally absurd, they literally scream NEGLIGENT GUN OWNER. I simply had to make this unidentified individual our 2nd Amendment Hero.

Drum roll, please:

According to a news release from Goodlettsville Police Chief Gary Goodwin, the boy was watching television with his father and brother in the living room at the Summerfield Place Apartments on Moss Trail. The mother was on the telephone in the kitchen, Goodwin said.

The father always kept a weapon nearby for protection and it was not unusual that the weapon was present, the police chief said. The father was using the laser on the weapon to play with the family’s cat, as the pet would chase the red dot emitted by the laser. As he got up to go to the kitchen, the father forgot to place the weapon out of the children’s reach, Goodwin said.

Turner’s sibling picked up the gun to get the cat to chase the laser. Unfamiliar with how the laser operates, the sibling instead pulled the trigger, fired one round and fatally wounded the 5-year-old, Goodwin said.

Repeat after me: guns are not toys. Guns are not toys. Guns are not toys. Guns are not toys.

This is just the trifecta of gun stupid. Dad “always keeps gun nearby” for protection, because scary people! But then he treats the gun like a cat toy? And then “forgets” and leaves it where the kids can reach it? No. Just … noooo.

This is where I cue the Jim Jeffries gun control video where he tells us the only reason anyone wants a gun is because “I like guns, so fuck off.” Everything else is a bullshit argument. And this is 100% correct. If our dad of the year really needed that gun for security he wouldn’t have treated it like a goddamn cat toy, would he?

Herein lies the gun conundrum. If you DO need a gun constantly at the ready because, I dunno, you’ve got the Mafia hot on your trail or something, then it’s not safe for the kids, is it? If it’s in a safe where the kids can’t get at it, it’s no good for protection. Of course one of those “smart guns” might help in this situation, but the NRA doesn’t want you to have one of those. So, now your son is dead and it’s your fault. Sucks to be you, gun guy.

Our story closes with this:

The Davidson County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case to determine if any charges will be filed against the father.

I actually met Glenn Funk when he was running for DA and asked him, specifically, if he would vigorously prosecute gun negligence cases. Because I was very concerned that one of his biggest donors was rabid Republican moneybags Lee Beaman. Funk dodged the question, so I’m going to be really interested to see what he does with this case. Because I’m pretty tired of hearing how the family “has suffered enough.”

No. You treat a gun like a toy, leave it lying around for your children to play with, and the inevitable happens? You need to go to jail.

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Housekeeping